Grown-Up Reads

The Best Grown-Up Reads of November 2017

by Jennie Yabroff

Photo credit: jayk7, Moment Open/Getty Images

November starts with a candy hangover and ends with a turkey coma — both perfect states for unbuttoning the top button, plumping the pillows, and relaxing (and digesting) with a great read. This month’s best bets will keep you so engrossed, you’ll be hungry to turn the pages, even if you never want to look at food again. Or at least not until Christmas.

  • The Feminist’s Guide to Raising a Little Princess: How to Raise a Girl Who's Authentic, Joyful, and Fearless—Even If She Refuses to Wear Anything but a Pink Tutu

    by Devorah Blachor

    The best-laid plans of feminist moms often go astray once their daughters (and, sometimes, sons) cast their eyes upon a tiara-clad, sequin-swathed, glass slipper-shod confection of royal lineage (usually thanks to a Disney movie or tie-in). In this hilarious and reassuring book that’s part research and part memoir, Blachor tells moms to embrace the pink terror — and gives advice to ensure mothers and kids ride out the princess years while maintaining their sanity, values, and even their sense of fun.
    (On Sale: 11/7/17)

  • God: A Human History

    by Reza Aslan

    What does God look like? Does he have robes and a beard? Is he even a he? In this history of our conception of the divine, Aslan writes that humans are hardwired to conceive of God as “a divine version of ourselves.” In exploring the way all major religions humanize the Almighty, Aslan will change the way you think about God, faith, and what it means to be human, whether you believe in a higher power or not.
    (On Sale: 11/7/17)

  • The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State

    by Nadia Murad

    How do you find meaning when you’ve experienced unspeakable horrors? For Nadia Murad, the answer is in telling your story, so the world can know the truth of your experience. Murad, a Yazidi from northern Iraq, first witnessed the slaughter of her family at the hands of the Islamic State, then was kidnapped and forced into the ISIS slave trade. The story of her ordeal and eventual triumphant escape is compelling, moving, and finally inspiring.
    (On Sale: 11/7/17)

  • Mrs. Osmond

    by John Banville

    Many readers consider The Portrait of a Lady Henry James’s masterpiece. That didn’t stop Booker Prize-winning writer John Banville from tinkering with it. In this novel, which traces and extends the story of Isabel Archer, Banville imagines an alternate destiny for James’s heroine — one entirely in keeping with James’s concerns and style but also psychologically informed by Banville’s own reading of the book, and understanding of the human heart. Fans of Banville, James, and great literature of all periods will devour this elegant tale of heartbreak and independence.
    (On Sale: 11/7/17)

  • Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics

    by Lawrence O’Donnell

    As a former producer for “The West Wing,” Lawrence O’Donnell wrote about politics as many Americans wish they were. Here, he writes about how they really are, and the landmark election that made them that way. In this gripping, stranger-than-fiction account of the 1968 presidential election, O’Donnell describes how assassinations, riots, betrayal, and intrigue conspired to put Richard Nixon in the White House, and change politics forever.
    (On Sale: 11/7/17)

  • President McKinley: Architect of the American Century

    by Robert W. Merry

    Some might think William McKinley’s greatest act as president was getting himself assassinated, paving the way for Teddy Roosevelt to take office. But in this biography, historian Robert Merry argues that McKinley’s accomplishments have been unfairly overshadowed by his more famous successor — who enjoys credit for a lot of what was actually McKinley’s doing. Our relationships with Cuba, Britain, and China were forged by his tenure, and the non-colonial imperialism that defined our country in the 20th century is the direct result of his policies. Merry clearly finds McKinley one of the most important leaders in our country’s history — after reading this biography, you may, too.
    (On Sale: 11/7/17)

  • Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance

    by Bill McKibben

    A few years ago, a certain fiery, irascible Vermonter very nearly upset the American political process. Bernie Sanders might have lost out on his bid for the Democratic nomination, but in this novel, Vermonters get the last laugh when a Sanders-like activist begins agitating for the state to secede from the country. He quickly attracts a group of followers, but their plans don’t go exactly as, well, planned. Expect biting satire mixed with a loving portrait of a state and its unique citizenry.
    (On Sale: 11/7/17)

  • Everything You Need to Know About Social Media: Without Having to Call a Kid

    by Greta Van Susteren

    It’s 2017. We should all be tweeting, texting, ’gramming, and Facebooking in our sleep by now. But, dirty little secret, many of us don’t even know what all the different platforms do, let alone how to use them safely and shame-free. In this practical guide, early-adopter Susteren gives practical advice for when and how to use social media (and when not to), helping readers decide if their message is best conveyed via text, tweet, post, or even that retro platform, face-to-face. Your kid might laugh at you for reading this now, but they’ll thank you for not embarrassing them on Instagram later.
    (On Sale: 11/14/17)

  • Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales

    by P. D. James

    When P. D. James died in 2014, the world lost one its most beloved mystery writers. However, her legacy lives on, not just in classics like Death Comes to Pemberly, but in the release of previously unpublished work. Here, six stories tell tales of death and deceit, digging beyond simple murder motives to questions of essential human motivation. You’ll shiver with fear and delight.
    (On Sale: 11/14/17)

  • Silence: In the Age of Noise

    by Erling Kagge

    When is the last time you experienced true silence? For Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge, the answer is 1993, when he spent several weeks hiking across Antarctica. In the ensuing years, he’s become fascinated by the state of absolute silence — and in this book, he explores the elusive condition in depth. Incorporating poetry, science, philosophy, and his own personal experience, Kagge makes the case for silence as a state of pure grace. Read this book in a quiet place.
    (On Sale: 11/21/17)

  • The Story of Arthur Truluv

    by Elizabeth Berg

    When you’ve lost the love of your life, there can seem little point in doing much beyond waiting for your own demise as quietly and meekly as possible. So thinks Arthur Moses, who centers his days around gardening and visits to his wife’s grave. But when he meets a teenager with her own reasons for hanging around the cemetery, the flowering of friendship gives him reason to re-engage with the living. Berg’s usual tenderness, wit, and perfectly conceived characters will satisfy and delight readers.
    (On Sale: 11/21/17)

Want to get a jump start on great new reading? Sign up for Season of Stories, and each week through the end of the year, you’ll get a new short story delivered to your inbox in four installments, sent daily from Tuesday until the conclusion on Friday. The bite-sized newsletter will give you just the right amount to read while commuting, waiting in line, or during your lunch break.